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Health insurance statistics
Is health insurance worth the expense?
Updated . What changed?
The perks of private health insurance include having a wide choice of treatments, bypassing waiting times and having a more comfortable hospital experience.
We found that, despite the benefits of health insurance, only a small proportion of UK citizens are covered. We’ve looked into how health insurance costs have increased over time, how they fare compared to the most popular insurances and why health insurance might be worth looking further into.
The average spend on insurance premiums in 2019 by type
Most people will own more than one type of insurance, with the majority of the 1,046 respondents here reporting to have at least car, home or contents insurance.
|Type of insurance||Percentage|
|None of the above||13%|
Private health insurance is the fifth-most owned type of insurance, with 13% of respondents saying they have it. Car insurance is the most popular insurance type due to it being mandatory for the vast majority of all drivers, while private health insurance is costly and often covers treatments that are also provided for free by the NHS.
The Consumer Price Index (CPI) of health insurance over time
CPI is a statistical estimate based on the weighted average of a group of items in a certain market. CPI essentially indicates how much something costs compared to other products or services. Over a 11 year period from 2008 to 2019, the CPI for health insurance has shown steady but consistent growth, to peak at 121 in 2019.
The increased CPI indicates that health insurance has steadily increased in price over the last 11 years. The average year-on-year increase in price for health insurance over this 10 year period is 6% per year.
The expense and waiting times for common medical treatments
We’ve ranked six medical treatments based on the cost of the treatment and the average waiting time for the treatment on the NHS. Both knee surgery and hip replacement surgery are good examples of when a person would save both time and money by being covered by private health insurance.
|Treatment||Cost of private treatment||Average wait time on NHS|
|Knee replacement||£11,814||13.5 weeks|
|Hip replacement||£10,776||13.5 weeks|
|Cataract surgery||£2,410||12.4 weeks|
|MRI scan||£1,298||2.6 weeks|
|Skin lesion removal||£940||6.5 weeks|
|CT scan||£870||2.2 weeks|
With private health insurance costing just over a tenth of the cost of the two replacement surgeries (£1,435 a year), which also demand that you wait around 13 weeks for the treatment under the NHS, you can see how health insurance can appear to be the more desirable option. The scans, on the other hand, cost a similar amount to an annual health insurance payment and require only a 2-week wait under the NHS.
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